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Offset inlets for multicolor printheads

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20120281044 patent thumbnailZoom

Offset inlets for multicolor printheads


An inkjet array has been developed that enables inlets for one group of inkjet ejectors to be laterally offset from the nozzles of the inkjet ejectors in the group and also enables inlets for another group of inkjet ejectors to be laterally offset from the nozzles of the inkjet ejectors in the other group. The lateral offset distance increases the distance between the inlets of the two groups to provide a wider bonding area between the two groups and improve the fluidic isolation between the two groups of inkjet ejectors.

Browse recent Xerox Corporation patents - Norwalk, CT, US
Inventors: John R. Andrews, Terrance L. Stephens
USPTO Applicaton #: #20120281044 - Class: 347 40 (USPTO) - 11/08/12 - Class 347 


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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20120281044, Offset inlets for multicolor printheads.

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TECHNICAL FIELD

This disclosure relates to the field of inkjet printing systems, and more particularly, to inkjet printheads configured to eject drops of inks having different colors.

BACKGROUND

Drop-on-demand ink jet printing systems eject ink drops from printhead nozzles in response to pressure pulses generated within the printhead by either piezoelectric devices or thermal transducers, such as resistors. The printheads typically include a manifold that receives ink from an external ink supply and supplies ink to a plurality of pressure chambers. Each pressure chamber is fluidly coupled to the manifold by an inlet and to a nozzle, which is an opening in an external surface of the printing system, by an outlet. On a side of the pressure chamber opposite the fluid path to the nozzle, a flexible diaphragm layer overlies the pressure chamber and a piezoelectric or thermal transducer is positioned over the diaphragm layer.

To eject an ink drop from a nozzle, an electric pulse activates the piezoelectric device or thermal transducer, which causes the device or transducer to bend the diaphragm layer into the pressure chamber. This movement urges ink out of the pressure chamber through the outlet to the nozzle where an ink drop is ejected. Each piezoelectric device or thermal transducer is individually addressable to enable the device or transducer to receive an electrical firing signal. Each structure comprised of a piezoelectric or thermal transducer, a diaphragm, a pressure chamber, and nozzle is commonly called an inkjet or jet. When the diaphragm rebounds to its original position, the ink volume in the pressure chamber is refilled by capillary action of the inlet from the manifold.

Many ink jet printing systems eject drops of various colored inks. The inkjets in the system are configured to enable the differently colored drops to form color images on an image receiving member that is positioned opposite the printing system. In a common embodiment, an inkjet printer is configured to emit drops of a predetermined number of different ink colors onto the image receiving member. Combinations of the various ink colors on the image receiving member generate images with a wide range of colors. Common examples of such systems include cyan, magenta, yellow, black (CMYK) printing systems, as well as systems that use different numbers and colors of inks to generate color images. In some multicolor printing systems, separate printheads exclusively eject ink having only one of the predetermined colors. Other printing systems include a multicolor printhead with separate groups of inkjet ejectors. Each group of inkjet ejectors in the multicolor printhead is fluidly coupled to a manifold that supplies only one of the predetermined colors to the pressure chambers in the group of inkjet ejectors. The added complexity of supplying multiple ink colors to the inkjet ejectors and ensuring that ink of one color does not contaminate ink of another color presents a challenge to the design of multicolor printheads. Consequently, improvements to inkjet ejector isolation in multicolor printheads are desirable.

SUMMARY

In one embodiment, an inkjet array has been developed. The inkjet array includes a body layer defining at least portions of a plurality of pressure chambers, an inlet layer having a plurality of inlets formed through the inlet layer, the inlet layer being bonded to the body layer at a position that enables each inlet in the inlet layer to communicate fluidly with only one pressure chamber in the plurality of pressure chambers, an offset channel layer having a plurality of offset channels formed through the offset channel layer, each offset channel having a first end and a second end, each first end of each offset channel being laterally offset from each second end of each offset channel in the offset channel layer, the offset channel layer being bonded to the inlet layer to position each inlet in the inlet layer proximate only one first end of one offset channel formed in the offset channel layer, and an offset inlet layer having a plurality of offset inlets formed through the offset inlet layer. The offset inlet layer is bonded to the offset channel layer to position each offset inlet in the offset inlet layer proximate only one second end in the offset channel layer to form a continuous fluid path from each offset inlet to only one pressure chamber through only one offset channel and only one inlet.

In another embodiment, a printhead has been developed. The printhead includes a body layer defining at least portions of a plurality of pressure chambers, the pressure chambers being arranged in an array of columns and rows, an inlet layer having a plurality of inlets formed through the inlet layer, the inlets being arranged in an array of columns and rows corresponding to the array of columns and rows in which the pressure chambers are arranged, the inlet layer being bonded to the body layer at a position that enables each inlet in the inlet layer to communicate fluidly with only one pressure chamber in the plurality of pressure chambers, an offset channel layer having a plurality of offset channels formed through the offset channel layer, each offset channel having a first end and a second end, each first end of each offset channel being laterally offset from each second end of each offset channel in the offset channel layer, the offset channel layer being bonded to the inlet layer to position each inlet in the inlet layer proximate only one first end of one offset channel formed in the offset channel layer, and an offset inlet layer having a plurality of offset inlets formed through the offset inlet layer, the offset inlets being arranged in columns and rows, the offset inlet layer being bonded to the offset channel layer to position a first column of offset inlets on a first side of each column of inlets in the inlet layer and a second column of offset inlets on a second side of each column of inlets in the inlet layer. Each offset inlet is proximate only one second end of an offset channel in the offset channel layer to form a continuous fluid path from each offset inlet to only one pressure chamber through only one offset channel and only one inlet. The offset inlets on each side of one of the columns of inlets in the inlet layer are aligned in a plurality of rows that are perpendicular to the column of inlets and the rows of the offset inlets are offset from the rows of inlets formed by parallel columns of inlets in the array of inlets in the inlet layer.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The foregoing aspects and other features of a multicolor inkjet ejector array and printhead are explained in the following description, taken in connection with the accompanying drawings.

FIG. 1 is a partial view of an array of inkjet ejectors with a first set of inkjet ejectors in the array configured to receive ink having a first color, and a second set of inkjet ejectors in the array configured to receive ink having a second color.

FIG. 2 is a plan view of inkjet ejectors and inlet openings depicted in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a plan view of offset inlet channels depicted in FIG. 1 that are positioned over inlets to the inkjet ejectors depicted in FIG. 2.

FIG. 4 is a plan view of offset inlet channel openings depicted in FIG. 1 that are positioned over the offset inlet channels depicted in FIG. 3.

FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view of a portion of the inkjet ejectors in the inkjet ejector array of FIG. 1 taken along line 160.

FIG. 6 is a plan view of another configuration of offset channel inlets and offset channels.

FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view of a portion of the offset channel inlets and offset channels of FIG. 6 taken along line 620.

FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional view of an offset channel and inkjet ejector with an inlet to the offset channel positioned on one side of a manifold wall, and an inlet to the inkjet ejector positioned on an opposite side of the manifold wall.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

For a general understanding of the environment for the system and method disclosed herein as well as the details for the system and method, reference is made to the drawings. In the drawings, like reference numerals have been used throughout to designate like elements. As used herein, the term “image receiving member” refers to a print medium, such as paper, or may be an intermediate imaging member, such as a print drum or endless belt, which holds ink images formed by inkjet printheads. As used herein, the term “process direction” refers to a direction in which an image receiving member moves relative to one or more printheads during an imaging operation. The term “cross-process direction” refers to a direction that is perpendicular to the process direction along the surface of the image receiving member. As used herein, the term “fluid resistance” refers to a property of a fluid path that resists a flow of fluid through the fluid path. The fluid resistance of the fluid path may be identified by dividing a measured pressure of fluid in the fluid path by the volumetric flow rate of fluid through the path. The fluid resistance of a fluid path may be altered by changing one or more physical dimensions, including length, width, and depth, of the fluid path.

FIG. 1 and FIG. 5 depict two inkjet ejector groups that are configured to be fluidly coupled to two ink manifolds that supply different colors of ink. FIG. 1 depicts a top-view of the inkjet ejector groups 102A and 102B that include multiple layers extending into the page that form the inkjet ejectors. The multiple layers depicted in FIG. 1 are shown separately in FIG. 2-FIG. 4. FIG. 2 depicts an array of inkjet ejectors forming ejector groups 102A and 102B. FIG. 3 depicts a layer 208 of inlet offset channels formed above the inkjet ejectors. FIG. 4 depicts a layer 204 of inlet offset openings formed above the inlet offset channels. The inlet offset openings and inlet offset channels enable two or more ink reservoirs to supply different colors of ink to the inkjet ejector groups 102A and 102B.



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Print carriage
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Incremental printing of symbolic information
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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20120281044 A1
Publish Date
11/08/2012
Document #
13099161
File Date
05/02/2011
USPTO Class
347 40
Other USPTO Classes
International Class
41J2/145
Drawings
9



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